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Statement for the Record of Vietnam Veterans of America Regarding "Service Should Not Lead To Suicide: Access To VA's Mental Health Care"

This statement explains the position of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) regarding older veteran suicides. Older veterans are over the age of 50. This group commits 66% of all veteran suicides. "VVA strongly suggests that until VA mental health services develops a nationwide strategy to address the problem of suicide among our older veterans - particularly Vietnam-era veterans - it should immediately adopt and implement the appropriate suicide risk and preventive factors found in the "National Strategy for Suicide Prevention 2012: Goals and Objectives for Action: A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention" (p. 3). VVA also suggests that both the DoD and the VA should use the PTSD (post traumatic shock disorder) assessment protocols and guidelines are presented by the Institutes of Medicine so that "our veteran warriors ... receive the accurate mental health diagnoses needed to assess their suicide risk status" (p. 5).